While the pico-projectors that have graced the SlashGear test bench have not exactly proved entirely disappointing, they've not persuaded us to part with our own money after we've sent them back. bTendo's MEMS-based scanning laser pico-projector module might change all that, promising brighter colors, improved power efficiency and no need to manually focus. PicoProjector-info got some hands-on time with the bTendo modules, and as you can see in the image here, the laser technology (on the right) easily outclasses a standard LCoS projector.
Video demo and comparison after the cut
Unlike a LCoS or DLP projector module, as you'd find in a typical pico-projector on the market today, the bTendo module takes three lasers - red, green and blue - focuses them to form a single pixel, and uses two electrostatic MEMS mirrors to map that into the correct point in the display. Each pixel is created in turn, one at a time, but at 60Hz so the human eye perceives the image as a whole.
That all makes for a tiny module - just 6.5mm in height, and less than 5cc volume - and since bTendo control each pixel individually there's no power needed to create a black section of the image. The current module supports SVGA 800 x 600 resolution, with 15Lm brightness, but they've a WVGA prototype in the works too. Aside from some laser speckle the bTendo image is far ahead of the LCoS system; now we just have to wait for an OEM to pick up their module, since the company themselves aren't planning to build their own pico-projector.
bTendo laser pico-projector (on right) vs. LCoS pico-projector:
bTendo laser pico-projector demo: